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FFOULKES C. Armour & Weapons

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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FFOULKES C.
Armour & Weapons
page 84



but to the true craftsman there is something degrading in the efforts of the expert ironworker, expending his energies, not to produce a finely constructed piece of work, but rather to imitate the seams and pipings of the work of a tailor or dressmaker ; and, however much we may admire his technical skill, we must, perforce, place his artistic aspirations side by side with the ' grainer and marbler ' who was so conspicuous a factor in domestic decoration in the middle of the nineteenth century. Fig. 42 shows this decadence carried to its furthest pitch. By the middle of the sixteenth century the Renaissance, which had been, in the first instance, the birth of all that is best in European art and craftsmanship, became a baneful influence. The expert painter, having mastered the intricacies of his art, turned them into extravagant channels and exaggerated action ; foreshortened figures and optical illusions took the place of the dignified compositions of the earlier period. Nor could the crafts escape this deadly poison. To ^ Ώ „ , .. . , R J R FIG. 42. Puffed suit, sixteenth the credit of the craftsmen we may century. Vienna.1 hope that the luxurious indulgence and ostentatious display of the princely patron was the cause of decadence in the crafts, rather than the inclination of the workers themselves. Still the fact remains that, as soon as the plain and constructionally sound work began to be overspread with ornament, architecture, metal-work, wood-carving, and all the allied arts began to be debased from their former high position. With the decoration of armour its practical utility began to decline. It must be admitted, however, that one reason for the decoration 1 This suit is shown with the brayette attached ; which for obvious reasons is exhibited in most armouries separate from the suit. CHAP. VI THE DECADENCE 93


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